Well what a game of rugger on Saturday between Wales and their ‘old enemy’ England. I went to a pub called the King’s Arms in little Langton Matravers. The cosy public bar was full of rugger buggers, the ale was flowing and the atmosphere expectant and nervy, England have in the past been undone by the fervour in Cardiff; Wales (as do many other teams) always raise their game when playing the haughty English but this English team are coached by the brilliant Eddie Jones, an Aussie born in Tasmania to an Australian father and Japanese mother, and they have a different temperament about them.

In my darker days I was a very tribal rugby supporter, as a callow 14 year old I went to Twickenham with my old man to see my first rugby international which happened to be between England and Wales. In those days Wales were a brilliant team and usually beat England, but for a change England won and half way through the match a Welshman sat in front of me turned and said “in the past half hour I’ve begun to hate you boyo”, I think my tribal exhortations had riled him. I now wonder where this tribalism came from, though I must admit it felt energising and somewhat exciting. As I’ve slowly matured I have gradually divested myself of this one-eyed nationalism and begun to appreciate the games for what they are as sporting contests. And yet on Saturday, as Wales were leading with 15 minutes to go, the primal feelings were bubbling and when England scored the winning try with a few minutes to go everyone leapt and cheered as one.

Overall I enjoyed my first experience of watching the rugger at The Kings Arms but one thing has left me bothered. As I purchased my half-time ale I spotted an old friend in the adjoining bar, I called through and we spoke. I then spotted another who I didn’t initially recognise and said hello, he said “I didn’t know you were a rugger bugger Duncan”. Now these gentlemen are supporters of the Liverpool association soccer club and had come to watch them play the Tottingham Hotspurs. After the rugby had finished I left the public bar in a slight state of euphoria and then popped my head into the soccer watching room on my way to the toilet. I enquired as to how all the association soccer followers were, some smiled others hurled mild insults. After relieving myself (in the toilet mind) I again popped my head around the corner of the soccer watching room and somewhat provocatively enquired whether anything had happened as it all seemed quite subdued, the room briefly animated in antipathy towards me. I left and walked jauntily home.

Later I reflected and thought there had been some animus directed at me, now some might be territorial as the footie fuckers (well they call us rugger buggers) were ousted from their normal soccer watching room. I also detected a distinct whiff of class enmity as there is and has long been a class difference between the two sports, rugby is definitely a sport played and watched by more middle and upper class folk. I can exist in more than one social bubble. Anyway, I felt a little unsettled and became reactive thinking that the soccer watching room resembled an old style boys school classroom (there were no women sat there though quite a few were watching the rugby). All the soccer watching menfolk were sat in rows at their desks looking at the blackboard/t.v. screen, when I observed on both occasions the room was silent apart from the footie commentator.

Maybe, as sport is now the opiate of the masses, and the main drug is soccer which is so ubiquitous that a certain numbness is gradually descending. I for one have painfully and slowly learnt that occasional highs are much better than frequent doses.

And what is happening at Purbeck View School? I mentioned a little while ago of the resignation of the acting head of care, well last week the former head of care, the head and deputy head have all apparently resigned en masse. I still await confirmation, anyone know of the veracity of this and if so an enormous why is asked. As ever I believe that openness is the best way, the secretiveness of ancient regimes breeds ill. The tribes need to parlay.

And tribes can be so fickle:


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


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